n Latin American Report - Memory, myths and problems of objectivity in the documentary film entitled

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



The Rwandan genocide is a theme that has excited not only film-makers in Africa but also non-Africans in Europe. The documentary film has been important in writing narratives of remembrance, invoking 're-memory' and creating social awareness. In reconstructing the memories of the genocide, documentaries have attempted to maintain a certain objectivity regarding the victims and aggressors in the genocide in order to draw moral conclusions about them. The aim of this article is to problematise the idea of memory and objectivity in the documentary film entitled (2004). The objective is to question the narrative techniques that the film uses to subject the watchers to a notoriously singleminded perspective of the genocide. It will be argued that the documentary's impulse towards authentic facts has a memorialising effect that can mythicize the actual conflicts that defined the genocide. This effect is most visible in the style employed in the documentary of selecting certain sites, images, sound and colour to produce a sense of affect that can be used to silence alternative depictions of the same genocide. However, audiences or subjects have their own subjectivities which incline them to decode film meanings differently. This article will therefore show how some of the narrative techniques encourage us to view stereotypes as a potential space of suture, a liminal space in transition, and a zone of occult instability, which are resistant to fixed forms of representations depicted in a genre of documentary film produced on genocide.

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